AT a time when the pressure is on to feel happy and festive for the Christmas period, it can be even harder to deal with feelings of anxiety and stress.
Advertisements, television shows and films all seem to point to a specific way in which we should celebrate Christmas, as well as how we should feel. However, even at ‘the most wonderful time of the year’, there are bound to be moments where you could quite literally scream and shout toddler-tantrum-style. Maybe when you don’t manage to get that one gift your boyfriend really wanted; or when you realise that you probably haven’t made enough roasties for everyone; or maybe even when you’ve been stuck inside with your family for just a little bit too long.
This is all pretty normal, and most of us have probably been there, so why do we continue to act like it has to be perfect?
A survey of 70 people of different ages and genders revealed that finding the right presents, financial constraints and all the expectations placed on us are the most stressful parts of the festive period.
Furthermore, a common comment seemed to be that spending time with the family was also very stressful.
Half of those surveyed revealed that stress at Christmas stops them having a nice time, which highlights just how vital it is that we learn how to wind down and de-stress at this crazy time of year.
Of those questioned, 20% de-stressed by drinking alcohol and a further 18% stated that simply don’t manage to calm themselves down at this time of year.
For those who struggle to keep stress at bay during this time of year, Quays News is here to give you the low down on how to keep yourself chilled enough to ‘keep calm and carry on’.
Plan plan plan!
If you are put in charge of cooking Christmas dinner, then planning and prepping ahead of time could potentially save you a lot of time and stress on the big day. Many elements of a Christmas dinner may be placed in the freezer ahead of time, such as gravy, stuffing and of course Christmas pudding can be made months before 25 December. BBC Good Food has compiled a handy guide to what and how you can prep for your Christmas dinner in advance.
Another handy planning tip is to keep a note on your phone or in a notepad of what gifts you could buy for other people. Often when you are faced with the prospect of buying presents for everyone you know, it can be very overwhelming, so if over the year you make a list of things they may like, it takes some of this stress away!
You can even have a little wish list of your own, because bizarrely, it is also very stressful having a herd of people demanding to know what you want. Not only does this cut back on some of the stress, it also means that you’re less likely to panic buy presents that the receiver probably won’t like – or panic ask for presents you actually really don’t want.
Sleep sleep sleep!
At such a stressful, frantic and busy time, it is vital that you get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to feeling physically and mentally exhausted, as well as stressed and short-tempered, leaving you less able to deal with difficult situations. If sleep is a struggle for you, then there are various tips and tricks you can adopt to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. For example, at this time of year, you may be inclined to slip out of your usual routine. Staying up later, drinking alcohol and eating too many of the festive nibbles on offer can all affect your sleep, so it is important to remember not to stray too much from your regular routines.
There are many others way you can help yourself get a better sleep. Lavender is a herb famously known to help you sleep and wind-down, one way to utilise this calming herb is by placing a few lavender oil drops on your pillow before you head to bed. The scent will help calm you and send you into a nice, refreshing deep sleep. Another tip is to cut down on caffeine before bed and a couple of hours beforehand. Instead of drinking coffee or tea, which may keep you awake, you could instead drink a calming chamomile tea, which will help you sleep.
Relax relax relax!
At a time when the pressure is on to enjoy spending time with your family, it is more important than ever to take some time out. There are so many ways in which you can enjoy time to yourself and wind down. Mindfulness colouring-in is a particular favourite of 2017, as we have seen it become all the rage, and for good reason! Taking the time to colour-in or just be creative in some way is not only rewarding but gives you time away from people and social media to relax and recuperate.
If sitting still and colouring-in isn’t your thing, getting involved with some sort of physical activity (even if that’s just going for a walk) can be infinitely helpful. When exercising, the body produces endorphins, which can tackle feelings of stress and making you feel happier. Furthermore, getting some fresh air and catching some vitamin D in the sun will also increase your mood, and get your feeling ready to tackle whatever Christmas throws at you.